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How to Outsmart Your Cravings

By Sandy Schroeder

If you are like me, you respond to all sorts of appetite cues that have little to do with hunger. Juicy hamburger and fries commercials on TV, the smell of popcorn anytime, and glimpses of favorite foods in magazines tend to nudge my cravings. Before I know it I am making a fresh grocery list, or heading to the kitchen for a snack.

If you can relate, Harvard Health suggests that we pay attention to all of the cues that lead to overeating. They also urge us to be aware of some of our own internal cues.

  • Do you eat when you are bored?
  • Do you always clean your plate?
  • Do you wind up ordering pizza when it's been a trying day?
  • Do you use food as an escape when life becomes frustrating?
  • Do you automatically scoop up donuts at work?

Here are some tips to reel in your appetite.

Out of sight out of mind - Make a sweep of your pantry and fridge and chuck cookies, chips, and ice cream. Reload the fridge with fruits and veggies, yogurt, and sugar-free juices and teas.

Fix plates in the kitchen - Instead of bringing bowls of food to the table, prepare individual plates in the kitchen to keep portions down, and discourage second helpings.

Make dining a separate affair - Instead of parking yourself in front of the computer or TV to eat, find a quiet spot to sit. Also increase sit-down suppers with family and friends, where food is fully enjoyed and the meal becomes a special event. Learn to savor the flavors and smells of the food. Also skip eating on the run, while you are driving, or when walking.

Separate cravings from real hunger - Actual hunger affects the stomach and may make you feel tired or lightheaded, but cravings are apt to be focused on foods that you love. Try substituting walks, music, calls to a friend or a bike ride when a craving strikes.

Slow down as you eat - Most of us approach eating the same way we do everything else. If we move quickly through the day and expect everything to happen fast, we may eat the same way. Take a deep breath and relax as you eat, tasting each bite and chewing it thoroughly. Your stomach and your digestive tract will be happier and you may enjoy your meal more. You may also feel fuller sooner and lose a few pounds too.

Having an appetite is healthy, as long as we take control and make it work for us.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Chicago, Ill.

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